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Mexican makeover continues for Chivas USA

January 25, 2013|By Kevin Baxter
  • Rookie Carlos Alvarez, chosen in the first round of this month's MLS SuperDraft, works out with Chivas USA on Thursday at Home Depot Center.
Rookie Carlos Alvarez, chosen in the first round of this month's MLS… (Rick Loomis / Los Angeles…)

Chivas USA's radical remake continued Friday when the team traded forward Casey Townsend to D.C. United for a second-round pick in next winter's SuperDraft.

That trade comes three days after the team dealt midfielder Nick LaBrocca to Colorado for Mexican American midfielder Eric Avila, part of a roster restructuring ordered by new owner Jorge Vergara.

Since October six players from last year's squad have been traded or let go: Juan Pablo Angel and Peter Vagenas were not re-signed, options were declined on Danny Califf and Alejandro Moreno, and LaBrocca and Townsend were traded.

And all six have one thing in common: they aren't eligible for Mexican citizenship.

The reason behind the purge is no secret. Vergara also owns Chivas de Guadalajara of the Mexican league, a team famous for never having used a non-Mexican player in its 106-year history. So now Vergara is packing his Major League Soccer team with players who are eligible to play for his clubs on both sides of the border.

Earlier this month, Chivas USA used its first pick in the 2013 SuperDraft on Mexican American Carlos Alvarez of East Los Angeles. And, with five guests from Guadalajara — Olympic gold medalist Jose Antonio Rodriguez, defender Mario de Luna, midfielder Edgar Mejia, forward Jose Manuel Rivera and former U-17 world champion Giovani Casillas — taking part in Chivas USA's first preseason camp under new Coach José Luis “Chelís” Sánchez Solá, Chivas USA has at least nine players in training who could move freely between the two Chivas rosters.

”That’s part of the objective of the club’s owner, to obtain players that can do both," Sanchez Sola said in Spanish. "There are a lot of Mexicans on many teams in this league. And there are many more playing in Mexico. Señor Vergara wants Guadalajara and the United States [club] — within his objectives — to be a filter for those players, that they pass through here. Because later on it is too difficult to be able to get players from Guadalajara; it is really difficult to get them."

Last season Chivas had just one player — Mexican American defender Jorge Villafana — who could have played for both Chivas teams.

More changes are expected since the club has said former MLS All-Star Shalrie Joseph of Grenada does not have a future with the team despite being under contract, while midfielder Oswaldo Minda is apparently in line for a return home to Ecuador

Townsend, 23, the fifth pick in last year's draft, played 17 games for Chivas USA in 2012, scoring once and notching two assists.

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